Friday, January 30, 2015

What's New?

Erudite cat

Hi, folks.  Thanks for the brisk traffic while GA went dark this week.  I suppose there's some interest in "what's new."  Alas, GA must ask you "what's new" because I am precluded from telling you what's new at this time.

GA will be going intermittently dark until I am able to apprise you of the state of our First Amendment and the New Jersey State Constitution.  In the meantime, can you think of anything more innocuous to post than kitty-pics?  Meeow.

Gee, she's been on that one page a long time.
Shhhhh... please don't wake the kitty!

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Je suis CHARLIE.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

HR's 2014 Power List: Zimmer drops 9 Places, Mason Slides Off to Oblivion

June 2, 2014--Secretary Shaun Donovan congratulates Mayor Zimmer for her leadership in obtaining a $230M HUD grant for Hoboken  

Well, now you know  the 'brain trust' over at The Hoboken Reporter ought to be re-named the 'brain-dead' trust.   

Their so-called 2014 'Power List' dropped Mayor Zimmer 9 places from last year's #5, to #14, citing "her political influence is waning" and "rumors swirling around that she might resign." 


Somebody tell the 'brain-dead trust' in the Editorial Offices at The Hoboken Reporter that in 2014 Mayor Zimmer scored Hoboken a $230,000,000 grant from HUD for flood prevention.

$230,000,000!  That's almost as much as Beth Mason's spent on ads in The Hoboken Reporter!  And make no mistake: if the Mayor had not publicly reamed Gov. Christie for holding Sandy relief hostage to a development deal, the state would not have been nearly as helpful with Hoboken's application for Rebuild by Design money.

"Waning political influence?" Check out U.S. Secretary Shaun Donovan trying to cop a feel off the Mayor after he praised her "leadership" in scoring $230M HUD grant for Hoboken last June.  Watch out, Stan.

 Frankly,  GA thinks the mayor's governing success has rattled the 'Boys Club.' 

 Zimmer makes national headlines exposing Christie

Oh yeah,  the HR's 'Power List' is gushing testosterone; the first woman on their list is #14, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer (excluding  'Mother Nature' at #9)   

What's the matter, fellas?   Do the Lady-Mayor's achievements make your Y chromosomes shrink?   Or anything else?

Well, let's take a look at the 'Power List'- then and now.

 ZIMMER 2013
#5: Dawn Zimmer, Mayor of Hoboken (- , 4) Zimmer dropped a spot from last year’s list, but that’s more due to Fulop and Bartoli than a discredit to her. The mile-square city’s first female mayor survived a brutal mayoral campaign in November and squeaked her way to victory with 46 percent of the vote, but in doing so, solidified her power base with a majority on the City Council, ensuring that her second term agenda won’t lose steam due to legislative roadblocks and political gamesmanship. Zimmer remained a familiar face on the national stage as she continued to advocate for solutions to Hoboken’s hurricane vulnerability. And though this list technically only pertains to a person’s performance in 2013, her nationally televised accusations against Christie could have a significant effect on her 2014 ranking, whether that means a surge upwards or a long fall down.


14 – Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer (No. 5 last year) has seen her political fortunes wane somewhat from their high after Superstorm Sandy and after her confrontations with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. In 2013, she gained national exposure after standing up to the governor over alleged pressure to support a politically-favored development in Hoboken if she wanted more Sandy aid. Zimmer’s reelection victory in late 2013 and her moves to consolidate government after that have shown her influence largely inside Hoboken. However, she has also become a team player on other issues countywide. With rumors swirling around that she might resign to take another post outside the town, she has the potential to influence political decisions in and out of Hoboken over the next year.

Now here is the Hoboken Reporter's take on Beth Mason.

In 2013 ranked #12.

In 2014... all gone!

MASON 2013 

#12: Beth Mason, Hoboken Councilwoman and Democratic Party donor (+, 14) – What influence Mason lost locally in 2013 she more than made up for in county and state circles. A staunch and perpetual critic of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Mason took a chance in the mayoral election and helped to bankroll the campaign of one of the mayor’s challengers – losing big. Still, she toured Hoboken with future Sen. Booker (she was almost his opponent in the primaries after being courted by some party bigwigs to run for Lautenberg’s vacated seat) and hosted two of the year’s most well-attended political mixers. The second of the two, a dinner co-hosted with State Sen. President Steve Sweeney in Atlantic City during the League of Municipalities conference in November, was ranked highest on the Star-Ledger’s list of must-attend events.

MASON 2014

Honorable Mention:   Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason, who may seek higher office and seems to have unlimited funds at her disposal...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Scandalized 2011 Muni Campaign Owes Masons $336,896.47!

Whole lotta debt! 2011 Mason Municipal Campaign Q Oct. 15, 2014 ELEC

Nothing illegal there!   Not at all!  Oooooh, no.

But, these are the strange facts:  Mason's 2011 Municipal Campaign (just fined $9,400 for ELEC reporting violations) is deeply in debt... to Beth and Ricky Mason

How deep?

The campaign's Quarterly Oct. 15, 2014 report, shows a $60,500 obligation to Treasurer Ricky Mason and a $276,396.47 obligation to Candidate Beth Mason. And an account balance of $979.94.

WOW.  Why is the campaign carrying so much debt?  

Why haven't they"forgiven" the loans to, um... themselves?

Perhaps because according to rules: if, at the conclusion of an election, a candidate or committee plans to participate in a future election, but has debt or net liabilities, the committee has two options: transfer the debt or net liabilities to the next election or retire the debt or net liabilities. If the debt or net liabilities are transferred to the next election, the committee must file quarterly reports on the appropriate quarterly reporting dates.  

Once debts and liabilities are paid off, a campaign "must terminate its election fund reporting at the 20-day post-election report, or at the first post-election quarterly report," and "designate the next election in which they are participating by filing a D-1 or D-2 form. Quarterly reports would continue to be filed until the year in which the next election is held (in this example, 2015)"

So, by leaving their campaign in a mountain of debt (to themselvesbut not transferring debt to the "next" election,  Candidate Beth Mason uses the 'old' election fund for unethical "in kind contributions" to pay her operatives and political consultants without scrutiny. 

Instead of timely filings, the Masons' quarterly filings seem to ebb and flow with the swishing and swashing of "in-kind contributions" to political operatives and consultants

Note the campaign "Obligations" increase from the post-election filings submitted on July 19, 2012.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tangled Web: Mason "In Kind Contributions" to Her 2011 Campaign

D-1 2011 Municipal Campaign Certification of Candidate Elizabeth Mason and Treasurer Richard Mason

Oh, what a tangled web they wove.

If you think it was easy to decipher Mason's tangle of ELECs, then you don't understand the apparent intent of a tangle of ELECs.

The candidate, Beth Mason, reported "in-kind contributions" on 12 separate filings.   9 of the 12  filed after the May 10, 2011 election reported Mason payed political operatives and consultants with her "in kind contributions."  These 9 reports were filed between 0 and 551 days late.

On each, Mason's reported "in kind receipts" equal her "in kind expenditures" (whoosh!).  But strangest of all, the candidate's "in-kind contributions" were reported on Schedule B instead of Schedule G.  (Schedule B reports the values of goods or services contributed in-kind TO the candidate while Schedule G  reports the recipients of in-kind contributions from the candidate or committee.)

Mason 2011 Campaign  ELECs report the candidates "in-kind contributions" to pay operatives and consultants on Schedule B

Tangled web, indeed!

So tangled that, in GA's opinion, whether or not ELEC  noticed the funky "in kind contributions," they chose to prosecute the lowest hanging fruit: late reporting of contributions and expenditures.  Easy stuff.  So, after almost a year after ELEC filed the complaints, Beth Mason and Treasurer Ricky Mason, settled the two complaints this past December when they paid about $37,000 in fines.  

GA has untangled the web to list (in chronological order of filing date) Candidate Mason's  "in-kind contributions" to pay her political operatives and consultant for services performed.

In the spirit of transparency, truth and accuracy,  all referenced ELEC reports are linked.  

Candidate Mason's "In-Kind Contribution" TIMELINE
On July 19, 2012,  Beth Mason reports her $48,000 "in-kind contribution" to pay political operative Barry Brendel's LLC, Cutting Edge Communication  and her $8,500 "in kind contribution" to pay Ryan Yacco for political consulting work!  Mason splits these payments between her January 15, 2011 ELEC report (551 days late) and her October 15, 2011 ELEC (278 days late).

On July 23, 2012 (4 days later)  Beth Mason files her $10,200 "in-kind contribution" to Brendel's LLC and her $5,000 "in kind contribution" to consultant Yacco. These "in-kind contributions" are reported on her April 15, 2012 ELEC- only 99 days late!

On July 26, 2012 : SLAPP!

On July 31, 2012 (8 days later) Beth Mason files her $9,600 "in-kind contribution" to Brendel's LLC and her $5,000 "in kind contribution" to consultant Yacco.  These "in-kind contributions" are reported on her July 15, 2012 ELEC.

On October 15, 2012,  Beth Mason's campaign files a timely October 15, 2012 ELEC, wherein Candidate Mason reports her $10,500 "in-kind contribution" to political operative Brendel's LLC. The next night October 16, was the debut of the media-coined "The Nazi Truck"- the first ever use of swastikas in a Hoboken political campaign.  Guess who shot the video that played on the "Nazi Truck"?
Oct. 16,  2012: "Nazi Truck" debuts at Wallace Primary School
All quiet on the "in-kind" front, until...

On February 1, 2013, Beth Mason files her January 15, 2012 ELEC (383 days late) wherein she reports her $9,500 "in-kind contribution" to Brendel's LLC.

Another lull...

On August 26, 2013, Beth Mason files her July 15, 2013 ELEC reporting her $3,000 "in-kind contribution" to Brendel's LLC and her $2,600 "in kind contribution" to consultant Yacco.

On October 16, 2013, Beth Mason files a timely October 15, 2013 ELEC wherein she reports her $6,000 "in-kind contribution" to Brendel's LLC and her $2,000 "in kind contribution" to consultant Yacco.

On February 26, 2014, the following was filed:  "COMPLAINT AND NOTICE OF OPPORTUNITY FOR A HEARING FOR LATE FILING OF REPORTS AND LATE FILING OF CONTRIBUTION AND EXPENDITURE INFORMATION IN THE 2011 MUNICIPAL ELECTION" by Complainant "NEW JERSEY ELECTION LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION  v ELIZABETH MASON, Candidate for Municipal Office,And RICHARD MASON, Campaign Treasurer, Respondents."  In addition, ELEC filed a separate complaint against 2009 Mason's "One Hoboken" mayoral campaign.
48 days later...
On April 15, 2014  Beth Mason files a timely April 15, 2014 ELEC wherein she reports her $5,000 "in-kind contribution" to Brendel's LLC.
To recap, "in kind contributions" are defined in NJ-ELEC's "Compliance Manual for Candidates:"
(page 18)  as "a contribution of goods or services contributed to a candidate or committee. A contribution received in the form of goods is reported in an amount equal to the fair market value of the goods to the candidate or committee receiving them."  

The facts raise many questions about why the Candidate and her Treasurer are washing "in kind contributions"  through her campaign to pay political operatives, doesn't it? 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mason's "In Kind Contributions" Disguise Payments to Political Operatives

Didn't GA tell you that yesterday?

But yesterday I didn't have a spreadsheet with ALL of Mason's 2011 Municipal campaign ELECs with corresponding "in-kind" receipts (money in) and "in-kind" expenditures (money out) for each report.

Why did GA do this?

Because numbers talk.

On May 2, 2011, Candidate Mason files her first reported "in-kind contributions" on her 29-Day Pre-election report.  Her $12,000 total "in-kind contribution" pays for the $8,000 (2 month) deposit and $4,000 March rent for her campaign headquarters.

On May 3, 2011, Candidate Mason reports her $4,000 "in-kind contribution" to pay April rent (on her campaign headquarters) on her 11-Day Pre-election filing.

Election Day comes and goes on May 10, 2011.

On June 24, 2011 her campaign files its 20-Day Post Election report, wherein the candidate pays Terminal Printing with Mason's $25,408.44 "in-kind contribution."

All quiet for 391 days, then...


On July 19, 2012,  Beth Mason reports her $48,000 "in-kind contribution" to pay political operative Barry Brendel's LLC, Cutting Edge Communication  and her $8,500 "in kind contribution" to pay Ryan Yacco for political consulting work!  Mason splits these payments between her January 15, 2011 ELEC report (551 days late!) and her October 15, 2011 ELEC (278 days late!).

On July 23, 2012 (4 days later)  Beth Mason files her $10,200 "in-kind contribution" to Brendel's LLC and her $5,000 "in kind contribution" to consultant Yacco. These "in-kind contributions" are reported on her April 15, 2012 ELEC- only 99 days late!

On July 31, 2012 (8 days later) Beth Mason files her $9,600 "in-kind contribution" to Brendel's LLC and her $5,000 "in kind contribution" to consultant Yacco.  These "in-kind contributions" are reported on her July 15, 2012 ELEC.

On October 15, 2012 Mason files a timely October 15 ELEC, wherein she reports her $10,500 "in-kind contribution" to political operative Brendel's LLC

Jeez, all of that "in-kind" loot washing in and out of Beth Mason's 2011 municipal campaign to pay political operatives and consultants is making me dizzy!

I think I need to sit down. Oh, there's more.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mason ELECs Report "In Kind Contributions" TO Political Operatives

page 3- Quarterly October 15, 2011 ELEC report for candidate Beth Mason's 2011 Municipal Election, Campaign Treasurer Richard Mason, filed on July 19, 2012

Since when does a candidate report "pay" to political operatives for "consulting" and "management services" as "In Kind Contributions" to New Jersey's Election Law Enforcement Commission?

I dunno, ask Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason's Campaign Treasurer! 

Here are those inconvenient things called "rules" a political candidate or committee can find in NJ-ELEC's current "Compliance Manual for Candidates:"
(page 18)
2. In-Kind Contributions

An “in-kind” contribution is a contribution of goods or services contributed to a candidate or committee.

A contribution received in the form of goods is reported in an amount equal to the fair market value of the goods to the candidate or committee receiving them. For example, assume that a printer donates bumper stickers with a fair market value of $700 to Candidate Jones. Candidate Jones must report the receipt of an in-kind contribution from the printer in the amount of $700.

A contribution in the form of “paid personal services” is required to be reported in an amount equal to the amount of salary, compensation, or consideration for the services paid by the contributor to the individual performing the services. Paid personal services are personal, clerical, administrative, or professional services that are not paid for by the candidate or committee benefiting from the services. 
Are we clear?

Candidates do not make "in-kind" contributions (payments) for consulting, management and other professional services received by third parties.   Those kinds of payments to third parties for professional services rendered are expenditures called disbursements.
D. All Expenditures Required to be Made through the Treasurer and
Campaign Depository.
  All expenditures are required to be made through the campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer of the committee. Furthermore, all expenditures are required to be made through the campaign depository. Payment of expenditures by currency is permissible if the payment is made from the proceeds of a petty cash fund, as discussed later in this Manual. 
Last May, GA reported that Mason's 2011 Municpal ELECs filed after the May 10, 2011 election (current to April 2014)  reported an astounding $203,995.85 in receipts and $202,878.10 in expenditures. The receipts were in-kind, currency and loans from Beth Mason.

65% of those receipts were reported as "in-kind contributions."  74% of those "in kind contributions" were to political operative Barry Brendel's LLC, "Cutting Edge Communication," 22% to Ryan Yacco for political consulting, and 2% were to pay for ads in The Hoboken Reporter.

The above ELEC reports are online at  

They are:

QUARTERLY OCT 15 2011        FILED: 7/19/2012     278 days LATE
QUARTERLY JAN 15 2011        FILED: 7/19/2012     551 days LATE
QUARTERLY APRIL 15 2012    FILED: 7/23/2012      99 days LATE
QUARTERLY JULY 15 2012      FILED: 7/31/2012      16 days LATE
QUARTERLY OCT 15 2012       FILED: 10/15/2012     0 days
OCT 15 2012 AMENDMENT      FILED: 2/1/2013      109 days LATE
QUARTERLY JAN 15 2012       FILED: 2/1/2013       383 days LATE
QUARTERLY APRIL 15 2013   FILED: 6/14/2013       60 days LATE
QUARTERLY JULY 15 2013     FILED: 8/26/2013       42 days LATE
QUARTERLY OCT 15 2013       FILED: 10/16/2013      1 day
QUARTERLY JAN 15 2013        FILED: 4/16/2014    456 days LATE
QUARTERLY APRIL 15 2014    FILED: 4/16/2014       1 day

Notice something?

Beth Mason's "in kind contribution" tsunami washed in July 2012 and washed out across 4 ELEC reports backdated to January 15, 2011.  "In-kind" contributions do not receive the kind of scrutiny that campaign expenditures are subject to and could be one way to wash money for an expensive political operation.  In July 2012?

Well folks, December's historic ELEC fines to Co-Respondents Beth Mason and Treasurer Ricky Mason for "late reporting transactions" on her 2009 and 2011 campaign ELECs have cast a white hot light on other curiosities.   For example, the candidate paying political operatives with "in kind contributions."  

For your reference:

Monday, January 12, 2015

"NJ Pol, Wachtell Partner" Fines Hit Legal Newswire

Law360 news-wire is a subscription based, legal news service, a subsidiary of LexisNexis.

The folks at Law 360 seem to understand the business of "news" is to report it, not do damage control.

Yes, I mean the 984 word, page-3 coverage of the Masons' historic $37K ELEC fine as 'reported' in this week's The Hoboken Reporter (vs. Bhalla's  1,303 words on a $100 waived fine).  

This $37K fine is a significant rebuke by NJ's Election Law Enforcement Commission- the largest in Hoboken history.   As noted as a "Top Story" on the national legal newswire, Law 360 :
Hoboken City Council Member Elizabeth Mason and her campaign team, including her husband, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz LLP partner Richard Mason, have been fined nearly $40,000 by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission for alleged late campaign filings in two city elections.

The commission fined Mason and her team a total of $27,760 — reduced from an initial penalty of $34,700 — for alleged campaign violations stemming from her unsuccessful mayoral bid in 2009 and another $9,400 for separate allegations arising from her city council...
GA  was not allowed to view the full article- see:

Anybody have the rest of the article?

Well folks, this is the part of the story that is easily explained.

Some of late reporting transactions-the parties to whom they were made and when- is where the story gets interesting. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ravi WINS!

Congratulations, Council President Bhalla on your BIG win

Our local media, The Hoboken Reporter,  LOVES you!

Yes, they LOVE you to the tune of a 1,303 word-article on your waived $100 dollar fine (which you are disputing in Appellate Court)...

While The Hoboken Reporter does NOT love Councilwoman Beth Mason!

PROOF: The Hoboken Reporter could only spare 984 words to report historic ELEC fines- $44,000 reduced to $37,000  for her last TWO campaigns (2009 mayoral and 2011 City Council)!   That is about 25% FEWER words than the Bhalla waived $100 fine story!  Do you need to see that a little closer?

And The Hoboken Reporter didn't even honor Councilwoman Mason on the cover-- though her's (and Treasurer Richard Mason's) are the  LARGEST ELEC fines in Hoboken political history!

Next, The Hoboken Reporter forgot to disclose that ELEC's $37,000 judgment was against TWO co-Respondents Beth Mason, candidate, and her Treasurer, Richard Mason.   If you don't believe GA, the ELEC decision was published on a national blog for legal professionals, Above the Law. (Credit to GA reader snoopy for submitting the link to GA)

Unlike The Hoboken Reporter, the legal blog correctly reported both co-Respondents were subject to the ELEC judgment:  "Hoboken councilwoman  Beth Mason and her husband, Wachtell Lipton partner Ricky Mason just got hit with  about $40,000 in election finance reporting violations."

At the same time that  The Hoboken Reporter  named co-Respondent Richard Mason once in the $37,000 judgement against him, the Bhalla article cited the name of Bhalla's former co-leasee, Condon six times!   SIX!   The Hoboken Reporter mentioned him a half-dozen times in an article about a waived $100 fine.  Surely Mr. Condon, a successful litigator, appreciates his name appearing in the Hoboken Reporter's many loving tributes to Councilman Bhalla. 

Perhaps Mr. Condon should advertise in The Hoboken Reporter so he will not appear in as many loving Bhalla tributes?

In any case GA hears there will be an award presentation for Bhalla's Big Win coming up.... stay tuned!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Politickernj: Beth Mason a "LOSER"

Beth Mason a "LOSER" according to

In fairness, Politickernj put Councilwoman Mason below the Trenton-Hugger, Chris Christie, on their list of Losers- the first one of 2015.

Should a local historian ever chart the political downfall of Councilwoman Mason, he/she will note that it began sometime in 2007 when Mason came under the influence of a corrosive group of misanthropes.  (Note this was long before the so-called "Zimmer-bloggers" existed.) 

Mason's terrible judgment in advisers and political operatives, her laziness to supervise them, has accelerated her political demise and created this ELEC mess. Rumor has it an anchovy was doing her ELEC bookkeeping.  Mason's narcissism does not allow the kind of introspection needed to "turn it around"- starting with firing incompetent operatives.  Her troubles will always be someone else's fault; if you cannot reinvent yourself, then sue everyone around you; or underwrite proxies to dispatch your political critics and enemies (choose proxies as narcissistic as yourself.)

Let's see how that's worked.

Buh-bye, Big Metal Friends!

What a rewarding, almost-2 years its been...

It's truly bittersweet to see our friends finally leave their shantytown at the HHA Parking Lot 

Hasta la vista!

The shrink wrap is gone, and soon, so will they (be gone)- or at least the 6 generators that "fit" the existing Housing Authority buildings. Those Lucky 6 will generate electricity and keep emergency systems operational for years to come!

But what of the other 8 generators that "aren't right for the space"?  

Can they be altered to be "right for the space"?   

Do the 8 HHA buildings have adequate back-up power in case of an emergency, until the generators are made "right for the space"? 

GA hopes ALL of the generators can be installed before this calender runs out of days:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

$37,000 Baby

2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason was right in her response to 2nd Ward resident Franz Paetzhold last night: we  (the People) "don't know all the facts" concerning the $37,000 judgment against her 2009 and 2011 campaigns by the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).

However, we (the People) know how to read news articles which report facts.  We (the People) know how to read a Consent Order and Final Decision.  ELEC spent nearly a year examining the facts, before fining the Masons.

Must we (the People) spend a year examining the facts, too?

Is Mason saying  she has a different set of facts, which should have led to a different outcome?

It seems simple enough. Was Beth Mason's 'bookkeeper' incredibly sloppy and/or incompetent or... was the delaying of financial reporting done on purpose.  A source who believes the latter told GA:
late reporting is to hide where the moneys coming from. you don't want people to see whos giving the money and where its going.  you wait until  nobodys paying attention.
Maybe those are the "facts" Mason is talking about?  Tricks to obfuscate money flowing in and out of her campaign?

Those "facts"about why a City Councilwoman (with as many operatives and consultants as she has) would have botched her ELEC reporting to the tune of hundreds of late transactions... well those are "facts" we (the People) would like to hear!

The People are all ears.

Ka ching

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ouch! Beth Mason Campaigns Fined $44K for ELEC violations!

Announcement in today's Politickernj
What a disgrace!  Councilwoman Mason is an embarrassment to Hoboken.

See what happens to lawbreakers, folks? Shame, an elected official and her Treasurer husband- a partner at a prestigious white shoe law firm- can't obey simple campaign reporting law!  What is the world coming to?  

$44,000!  The  Hoboken Reporter wrote 2 pages this week about Bhalla's waived $100 fine...

Beth Mason & Co's fines are 440 TIMES the amount of Bhalla's!   Will The Hoboken Reporter  write an 880-page Special Edition about Beth Mason's ELEC transgressions?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bhalla Resolution Opposes Cuts in PATH Service

Hoboken Reporter too busy reporting on Bhalla's waived $100 fine to update public on historic Mason ELEC complaints 

Here we go, tomorrow's the first City Council meeting of 2015.
Well folks, this is Hoboken!  Where elected officials try to kill the sale of our hospital causing 1,200 layoffs, $52M bond default triggering bankruptcy, converting the City's bond rating to junk status,   and blowing $4.5M of taxpayer money with a 'NO' vote on a cost-free garage bond refinance-- because they don't like the Mayor!  It kinda seems like these elected officials don't like us.

The wannabe hospital sale killers were Councilpersons Beth Mason, Tim Occhipinti, Mike Russo and Theresa Castellano.  

These same four elected officials sued to keep Jim Doyle off the City Council in the aftermath of the Sandy flood disaster-- halting the wheels of government at a time when Hoboken residents needed their government to work.  Public outrage at litigation-crazy Councilwoman Mason, the sponsor of  numerous lawsuits against the City has put her political future in Hoboken in doubt.   

Well folks, that is part of the historical backdrop of this Council, which brings us to 2015.

The Hoboken Reporter's first issue of 2015 boasted a fresh hatchet job on Ravi Bhalla- a 2 page spread on a reinstated dismissal of a waived $100 fine by a state Board of political appointees with an axe to grind against the Zimmer administration.  The HR piece recycled the "Greatest Hits of Beth Mason;" her attacks on Bhalla obediently repeated in our newspaper.  It is easy enough to determine that Bhalla's contributions did not violate pay-to-play limits... but when you've received boatloads of advertising dollars from Bhalla's enemy, why bother?   Instead, the paper printed a litany of  Bhalla's contributions, hinted at pay-to-play violations, then told us Bhalla denied the allegations (which the paper is disseminating).  

Mason PAC violates Pay-to-Play going $6,617 over the $500 contribution limit

Hey, HR: instead of swinging Beth Mason's hatchet, how about  LOOKING UP PAY-TO-PLAY LAW?   How about verifying the truth and accuracy of whether Bhalla's contributions exceeded Pay-to-Play limits?  And while you're at it, crack open the ELECs of Mason, 2012's Move Forward, and Tim Occhipinti ( secret cash contributions from Birdsall Engineering).
Occhipinti BUSTED by the Star Ledger

 Meanwhile, how much ink did the Hoboken Reporter spill on Beth Mason's historic ELEC complaints alleging hundreds of reporting violations in her 2009 and 2011 campaigns? 

So will 2015 bring a better working relationship among factions on the City Council?  GA hopes so.

Let's see if there can at least be agreement on the Bhalla-Cunningham resolution to support Mayor Zimmer's statement opposing reductions in PATH service including the elimination of  service between 1AM-5AM.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Get Over It, Fella

Some allege that closing 2 lanes of the George Washington  Bridge for 3 days in September 2013 was payback because Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich would not endorse Chris Christie for governor.

Is it true?  Not according to Christie, who put the blame on a handful of appointees and aides he forced out or fired.  Well...

It appears another batch of Christie appointees may have gone 'rogue' in a decision that smells like petty political payback.

GA is talking about the December 13 decision by the NJ Local Finance Board to overturn the ruling of the Honorable James A. Geraghty in  Ravinder Bhalla, Petitioner vs The Local Finance Board, Respondent.

Judge Geraghty made a smart and sensible ruling; he threw out the complaint filed by Hoboken politico Perry Belfiore.   Garbage in, garbage out.  As a former City Councilman, the Judge understood  that this is a complaint drenched in political animus.  From the July 2, 2014 hearing transcript:

TRANSCRIPT- July 2, 2014 hearing of Ravinder Bhalla  vs The Local Finance Board

 Why would the NJ Local Finance Board tinker with a ruling by an independent judge when there is no state precedent  for an alleged ethics violation resulting from a shared lease agreement?

It looks like the Board has gone out of their way to give Bhalla the finger.  Which is sorta the same as giving the Mayor Zimmer the finger- a.k.a. the Trenton Tall Man.

Neither Zimmer nor Bhalla endorsed Christie. (They didn't endorse Buono, either.)  Then Zimmer famously dropped the dime on the Christie  administration for holding Hoboken's Sandy aid hostage to greenlighting a development project.

Folks, you know what they say: an elephant never forgets. 

Whatever petty politics may be behind this reversal, it's a complete waste of taxpayer money.  Judge Geraghty had it right the first time.   This one has the stench of political payback.

Meanwhile, Councilman Bhalla has filed an appeal.  But nothing stops our  local fishwrap when they smell (Bhalla) blood in the water.